Te Awamutu Courier
Look what the wind blew in — beach items found inland
Faulty turbine in wind farm blamed
Local residents in western Wa¯ipa have recently been reporting a marked increase in rubbish and curious objects turning up snagged in trees, hedges, fences and other unusual places.
A community initiative in Te Pahu¯ has been collecting up the flotsam and jetsam and noticed it was not the usual roadside rubbish — it was almost exclusively made up of beachrelated items.
It extended as far inland as Te Rore, where a beach ball, a child’s swimsuit, an empty tube of sunscreen and three light-weight bodyboards were all retrieved off the roof of the local hall over the last two weeks.
This mystery inspired all sorts of plausible and implausible explanations, from a malfunctioning passing recycling truck, to a cargo hold failure in a Hawaii-bound aeroplane, but it was finally solved after a message on the Te Pahu¯ community Facebook page came to the attention of a local employee for an energy company.
Apparently, during recent power outages caused by Cyclone Dovi, a
systems error meant that when power was re-established, the wind farm at Te Uku, instead of generating electricity, was in fact consuming it from the national grid.
This simple glitch caused the turbines to spin exceptionally fast, effectively turning them into a bank of giant fans.
As they were all pointing in a
westerly direction this will have created an unusually low pressure zone on the Raglan side of the wind farm, which inevitably resulted in lightweight objects being whisked off Raglan beaches and blown into the Wa¯ipa district.
The wind farm owners were able to remedy the fault by “turning the turbines off and then on again”, said a spokesperson for the company.
There will be a collection point for anyone in the Pirongia and Te Pahu¯ area who has been the recipient of other unsolicited beachy objects so they can be returned to their rightful owners. This is being organised by the local Procrastinators Support Group. It was scheduled for April 1, but has been unfortunately postponed.